Sandokai: Harmony of Difference and Sameness

This is a sutra I first heard at Stone Creek Zen Center; Sandokai, or "The Harmony of Difference and Sameness", by Shitou Xiqian, an 8th century Chinese Zen teacher and author. Every time I read it, I'm struck by something new, so I thought I'd post this translation that I'm appreciating so much.

Harmony of Difference and Sameness

The mind of the great sage of India
is intimately transmitted from west to east.
Though people may be quick or slow,
The Way has no northern or southern ancestors.
The spiritual source shines clearly in the light,
the branching streams flow on in the dark.
Grasping at things is basically delusion,
merging with principle is still not enlightenment.
The sense and their objects
turn each other yet remain distinct.
Combining they penetrate completely,
yet each remains undisturbed.
Sights vary in color and form,
sounds differ as pleasing or harsh.
Darkness blends the rough and the fine,
brightness reveals what's clear and what's hazy.
The four great elements return to their natures
Just as a child turns to its mother.
Fire heats things, wind moves them,
water moistens, earth is solid.
Eye and sights, ear and sounds,
nose and smells, tongue and flavors.
Thus with each and every thing,
depending on their roots the leaves spread forth.
Trunk and branches share one essence;
revered and common, each has its voice.
In the light there is darkness,
but don't take it as darkness;
In the dark there is light,
but don't see it as light.
Light and dark work together
like the foot before and the foot behind in walking.
Each of the many things has its virtue,
revealed through how and where it works.
Phenomena exist like box and lid fitting
principle responds like arrowpoints meeting.
When using words, seek their true meaning;
don't make up standards on your own.
If you don't see the Way right before you,
how will you know the path as you walk?
Progress is not a matter of far or near,
but if you are confused, mountains and rivers block your way.
I humbly urge you who study the mystery,
do not waste your time.